Cowboys Shock And Rock Seahawks 30-23
For a moment there, it didn't seem destined to be as near-perfect a performance as it turned out to be for the Cowboys, 30-23 winners in Seattle. Take the running game; DeMarco Murray had only 64 yards rushing on the Cowboys' ninth drive, with the team down 23-20. The game and his streak for 100-yard games to start the season looked to be in jeopardy.
But then on first-and-10 from the Seattle 46, Murray stormed his way 25 yards down to the Seahawks 21. A six-yard rush set up a second-and-4 from the Seattle 15. Dallas' "Thick Blue Line" opened up the hole, and Murray seared his way for the touchdown. No longer was Murray's record in doubt. No longer was the game's outcome in much doubt, either.
Oh, after turning Seattle over on downs deep in their own territory, Dallas had to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal to increase their lead 30-23, with the Seahawks getting another chance with a minute left.
With nightmares of Detroit last year, or any other of the number of games where Dallas blew a lead in the final minute, coming to mind, Rolando McClain's interception on at mid-field woke Dallas fans up to the reality their Cowboys are 5-1, atop the division, and did so beating the Super Bowl champs in undoubtedly the toughest, loudest venue in pro football.
"No doubt, (Seattle) will be in the playoffs,'' said Dez Bryant, speaking with the same quietly confident tone of voice he used all week before the showdown. "And if we continue to keep doing things right, we'll see them again."
The Legion of Boom didn't pick off Tony Romo, and they only earned one sack against him. However, they made their bone-crushing presence felt after Romo would sling passes. After failing to convert third down on their opening drive, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner speared Romo in the chest, knocking the QB down on the CenturyLink Field turf for a minute as trainers tended to him. Doubts loomed as to his availability, but Romo returned and posted a 21-of-32, 250-yard, two-touchdown performance against the club that has forever pocked his postseason, big-game reputation.
"Yeah, a little rib thing and the ankle,” Romo said, taking ache-and-pain inventory. “We’ll see. I’ve got to go through all of the (medical) junk (Monday) and figure that out. ... It has nothing to do with the back, though. All of this is gravy.”
Romo and the Cowboys did a good job spreading the ball around to backs coming out of the backfield. Murray led all receivers with six catches for 31 yards, while special weapon Lance Dunbar had four catches for 48 yards. Even the tight ends, Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar, accounted for all of Romo's touchdowns.
Williams (two catches for 70 yards) and Bryant (four catches for 63 yards) showed up on the field more than the stat sheet. Facing a third-and-20 from their own 31, Romo heaved a sideline route for Williams that he caught, toe-tapping for the first down on the game-winning drive.
Moving forward, the one area for concern is special teams. Dwayne Harris had another muffed punt for the second straight week that cost Dallas a touchdown on Seattle's ensuing drive. Chris Jones had a punt blocked early in the game that was returned for a touchdown. Special teams giveaways accounted for 14 points -- not the kind of output associated with contenders. Those two gaffes (and a botched center snap) led directly to 17 Seattle points ... but in the end, maybe just those three things register as the different between "near-perfect'' and something even better on the horizon.
* Dunbar had a huge catch on 3rd-and-14 that converted the down. That was the first 3rd-and-10 or greater the Seahawks had given up all season.
* Dan Bailey not only became the NFL's most accurate kicker ever, but he set a personal career-long with a 56-yarder that tied the game up 20-20 late in the third.
* This was the first time the Cowboys had won in Seattle in 10 years.
* Witten's two receptions put him at 900 for his career. With 21 more, he can surpass Torry Holt for 15th place all-time.
* Dallas is only the first NFC East team since the Russell Wilson era began (2012) to win in Seattle
* This is the 12th time Dallas has started 5-1. All 12 times have they made the playoffs. Not a bad gift to get in the land of "The 12th Man."
* Joseph Randle had 5 carries for 52 yards. That alone would have been the highest rushing yards by an individual against the 2014 Seahawks.
* “This is a confidence-booster. It’s not shocking to us because we’ve been grinding, scratching and clawing for a very long time to get into this situation.” - Brandon Carr.
CowboysHQ will have loads more of coverage ... after Fish gets off the team plane and we all catch a half-hour or so of sleep!
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